Certified public accountants (CPAs) are in high demand and not just at tax time. They act as
trusted consultants on financial matters and maintain information on accounts for individuals,
businesses, and even non-profit organizations. CPAs assist clients in attaining their financial
goals. The professionals can choose to specialize in a particular area of accounting
encompassing taxation, personal finance, forensic accounting or environmental accounting.
College Level Accounting
CPAs in Florida are required to complete 150 semester hours of college-level education in
accounting by an accredited educational institution.
Those desiring to become a CPA must also complete a required 2,000 hours of experience over
12 months of work or a minimum of 20 hours per week. A CPA that’s currently licensed or an
approved chartered accountant must verify the hours. Individuals can begin working toward
the completion of their work experience after completing 120 hours of classwork from an
accredited educational institution.
Prospective CPAs must pass the Uniform CPA Exam. Created and developed by the American
Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), it’s the only pathway to being able to practice
as a CPA. Candidates must apply to the Florida Dept. of Business and Professional Regulation
(DBPR), Division of Certified Public Accountants to receive authorization to take the exam. The
4-part exam must be passed within an 18-month time period.
Licensing is required of CPAs to pursue their chosen profession. They must create an account
with the DBPR to apply for a license. Individuals must also provide documentation that they’ve
completed all the educational requirements; work experience; exam results; pay a fee; and
submit their application. This must be accomplished within 3 years of passing their exam via a
printable form or an online portal.
Licenses must be renewed every 2 years. CPAs are required to complete 80 hours of ongoing
education, of which 8 must be in accounting, auditing and technical business. In addition,
behavioral coursework must be completed, limited to no more than 20 hours, along with a
minimum of 4 hours in ethics.